BY TONY EGBULEFU,
The acting chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has stated that no anti-corruption agency in the country has recorded the success of the commission in the area of court convictions against corrupt persons.
He disclosed this in a meeting with journalists yesterday in Abuja.
According to Magu, “regardless of the challenges that we have faced and continue to face, I am happy to report that we are making progress. Many of you are aware of the achievements that we have recorded in the fight against corruption especially in the area of assets recovery.
“Two days ago, we got the court to forfeit to the Nigerian Government a sum of N7.6billion which was hidden in a Nigerian bank by former Petroleum Resources minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke. Two weeks earlier, another court issued a temporary forfeiture order to seize properties worth twenty one million, three hundred and ninety two thousand, two hundred and twenty four thousand dollars ($ 21,392,224), belonging to the same former minister. Those properties are awaiting final forfeiture.
“Over a month ago, the Commission recovered over N329billion from a group of oil marketers for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. These are major recoveries from a sector of the economy.
But to give a holistic picture of the aggressive drive to recover stolen wealth, I have the pleasure to report that the Commission between January and August 30, 2017 recorded the following monetary recoveries:
”Four hundred and nine billion, two hundred and seventy million, seven hundred and six thousand, six hundred and eighty six naira, seventy five kobo (N409, 270, 706,686.75); Sixty nine million, five hundred and one thousand, one hundred and fifty six dollars, sixty seven cents ($ 69, 501,156.67);
“Two hundred and thirty one thousand, one hundred and eighteen pounds, sixty nine shillings (pounds 231,118.69; Six hundred and ten thousand, eight hundred and sixteen thousand, twenty euros (euro 610,816.20); Four hundred and forty three thousand, four hundred dirham (dirham 443,400.00 and (seventy thousand, five hundred Saudi Riyal (SR70, 500.00).”
Despite what the EFCC boss termed as “the antics of some persons accused of grand corruption to delay trial,” he disclosed that the commission was making progress in the area of prosecution of cases in court. According to him, “Between January and August this year, EFCC recorded 137convictions. The potentials for improvement are good as more cases are brought to conclusion in the remaining four months of the year.
Remarkable as this feat is, we are not resting on our oars. We believe there is still a lot to be done which is the reason why we are actively seeking the support of all stakeholders, including the media.
He stated that these achievements clearly stand the commission out among all other anti-corruption agencies in the country.
Gentlemen of the press, we do not pretend to have a monopoly of knowledge on how to win the war against corruption. The anti-corruption campaign requires a concerted effort. I enjoin members of the public, including the media, to be part of this effort by reporting cases of corruption to the EFCC. In this regard he urged the public to route petitions and complaints to the commission via email at:[email protected]
He noted that politically exposed persons in the country have so much money to fight back, and that corruption is indeed fighting back in different forms in the country and against the commission. One of the most recent manifestations of this he said is the attack on the commission by armed men.
“It would be naïve for anyone to expect the fight against corruption to be smooth; you should expect resistance and opposition which are expressed in various guises. From what we read in the papers these days, it is either somebody is fighting Magu or Magu is fighting other people. I know that journalists want to sell their newspapers, but seriously speaking, instead of fighting ourselves, we should be united in fighting the common enemy, which is corruption. Personally, I am not after anybody and have no issues with anybody. Those who think they have issues with me will soon discover that I mean no harm. What drives me is the passion to do what is right by ensuring that we fight corruption to a standstill in this country,” Magu said.
He further disclosed that there was no face-off between the commission and the office of the Attorney General of the Federation. “No face-off at all but a synergy,” Magu said.
It would be recalled that the attorney general of the federation and minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, few days ago, restated the resolve of his office to take over high profile corruption cases, being handled by the EFCC, saying that such would make for better prosecution of the cases. Though the attorney general has repeatedly blamed the suspension of Nigeria by the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units to Magu’s alleged resistance to allow Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU to be independent of the EFCC, Magu told journalists that NFIU is operationally independent of the EFCC.
The EFCC boss commended the recent pact entered into by the governments of Nigerian and United Arab Emirates in the area of fight against corruption.
“They have agreed to work and collaborate with the Nigerian security agencies,” noting that when the pact is fully ratified, the UAE authorities would be publishing the names of Nigerian property owners in Dubai and the volume of money that corrupt Nigerians stashed away in the country.
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